Alberta joins world leaders to accelerate CCUS technology development; ERA announces almost $10 million in funding

September 22nd, 2020

Today, the Government of Alberta announced up to $750 million from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund and other public funding for programs that will reduce emissions, boost the economy, and get Albertans back to work. This investment will be more than doubled by additional dollars from industry and other sectors, leading to more than $1.9 billion in total funding.

As part of this announcement, ERA is committing $9.5 million through new global partnerships to advance CCUS technologies. These investments and international collaborations will continue Alberta’s momentum toward lowering the costs of CCUS technologies that will help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase the province’s competitiveness. 

ERA has become the first sub-national member of an international funding initiative called Accelerating CCS Technology (ACT). This multi-national funding program, initiated in 2015, accelerates and matures CCUS technologies from around the globe. As a funding partner, ERA committed $5 million to ACT’s recent Call for Proposals focused on innovations that can lead to safe and cost-effective CCUS technologies. ACT is coordinated by the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and is a collaboration of 17 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and India.

ERA also signed a Trusted Partner agreement with the XPRIZE Foundation. Through this partnership, ERA is committing $3 million to CARBON CORP and $1.5 million to Carbon Upcycling Technologies, two of the 10 finalists in the $20 million (USD) NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. ERA’s investment will accelerate the commercialization of these CCUS technologies. Each of these technologies are being piloted at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC)

“These projects will create jobs, grow our economy and help the environment. That’s why we created the TIER program – to show the world that Alberta is an environmental leader while making our economy more competitive.”

Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta

“We’ll stand by our industries and workers and we won’t leave our resources in the ground, as some have suggested we do. There is a better way. Alberta is a province of innovators who are helping our world-class energy industry reduce emissions while creating jobs and getting Albertans back to work. This money from Alberta’s TIER program will get almost 9,000 Albertans working again. And, the technology that they develop will not only make life better for Albertans, but will help the world reduce emissions.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“We need a global, collective effort to accelerate technologies that cost-effectively capture CO2 . Partnerships and investments like these are critical to helping Alberta leverage its own investments in CCUS. This is technology that can help us increase the value of our natural resources and decarbonize energy—Alberta is helping to develop the solutions the world needs.”

Steve MacDonald, CEO, ERA

Up to $50 million is available for CCUS technologies in Alberta and around the world through the ACT partnership. Through its current Call for Proposals, ACT 3, ERA is seeking innovative CCUS technologies with strong potential for commercialization in Alberta. ERA is targeting its funding toward projects at the stages of scale-up, field testing, field pilot, demonstration, and first-of-kind commercial implementation. In addition to leveraging international funding for CCUS initiatives, the partnership represents a significant opportunity for knowledge sharing.

“The climate issue is something we need a global approach to. The knowledge that Alberta has gained in CCUS is highly acknowledged and serves our ambition—to make CCUS a commercially viable climate mitigation technology. We trust that we will develop the CCUS future to the best for all parties by funding high quality projects and an open approach for knowledge sharing.”

Ragnhild Rønneberg, Coordinator, ACT, Research Council of Norway

“Alberta has undertaken some extraordinary things in the CCUS space; one of the most promising clean energy technologies. Welcoming them into this international collaboration opens up a strong pipeline of technology that will be key to future economic and environmental successes.”

Brian Allison, Head CCUS R&D and International Policy, UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Beyond just capturing CO2, using as a feedstock to produce valuable carbon containing products has enormous economic potential. The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE is  a collaborative, international effort with commitments from government, industry, a publicly run testing facility, and innovators advancing carbon utilization innovations that reduce CO2 emissions. These efforts are enhanced by support from Capital Power, the ACCTC, and Lehigh Hanson.

Carbon Corp technology transforms CO2 into carbon nanotubes (CNT). CNTs have widespread use with applications in concrete, graphene, construction material, batteries, consumer electronics, wind turbines, aircrafts, automobiles, and more.

Carbon Corp is operating a pilot plant in Calgary at the ACCTC to validate the technology at commercial scale. Edmonton-based Capital Power, an investor in CARBON CORP, also plans to build the world’s first commercial-scale CNT production facility at its Genesee power station.

Concrete production is responsible for nearly eight per cent of global CO2 emissions. Lehigh Hanson will take the CNTs from Capital Power and test them for use in concrete production. The technology reduces the amount of cement in concrete, making it lighter, stronger, and less emissions intensive. For every tonne of CNT mixed into concrete, up to 844 tonnes of cement can be avoided, leading to a reduction of over 6 million tonnes of CO2e by 2025.

Formed in direct response to Round 1  of ERA’s Grand Challenge: Innovative Carbon Uses, Carbon Upcycling Technologies uses CO2 emissions to create nanoparticles that enhance everyday materials like concrete, plastics, and batteries. The Calgary-based start-up has identified over 10 different applications across various market sectors. They are one of four Canadian companies in the finals of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, establishing them as one of the top carbon utilization companies in the world.

Carbon Upcycling Technologies is commissioning a seven tonne/day pilot facility at the ACCTC. The focus of this project is the commercialization of an enhanced fly ash additive, a material that is substituted for cement in the concrete manufacturing process. The additive has been commercially deployed in four construction projects and can replace up to 20 percent of cement in concrete, reducing 0.9 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of concrete produced.

“The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE is about more than just the winners, or even the $20 million (USD) prize. It’s about building a global innovation ecosystem for carbontech. It is a global movement to support these companies to demonstrate and scale their breakthrough technologies and inspire companies and investors to get them deployed so we can all benefit.”

Marcius Extavour, Lead for Environment, Energy & Climate, XPRIZE

“While lots of processes look to produce less CO2, Carbon Corp can erase a significant portion of modern society’s contribution to climate change. This technology presents an opportunity to create a high value product that is made at low cost to  facilitate  GHG removal. The innovation aims to reverse the buildup of GHGs in the atmosphere by turning it into a useful, valuable resource. The Province’s support through ERA will go a long way in meeting this goal.”

Dr. Stuart Licht, Founder, Carbon Corp

“Provincial Government funding through ERA has played a supporting role in our work since the beginning. As a 5-year-old company, we have been able to engage major cement companies from around the world, including Cemex, Argos, and Burnco in the project— showcasing the wide acceptance of the technology’s interest with sophisticated players in the global construction industry. This support is critical for us to live up to our motto: to use today’s waste to build the world of tomorrow.”

Apoorv Sinha, President & CEO, Carbon Upcycling Technologies

ERA’s previous investments in CCUS technologies through initiatives such as the Grand Challenge demonstrate a long-term commitment to this technology and its benefits. Alberta’s CCUS-related investments such as Shell Quest, the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, and the ACCTC put the province in an excellent position to share knowledge and expertise gained through these world-leading initiatives.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Emissions Reduction Alberta
Kevin Duncan
403.431.2859 | kduncan@eralberta.ca

ABOUT EMISSIONS REDUCTION ALBERTA (ERA):
For more than 10 years, ERA has been investing the revenues from the carbon price paid by large final emitters to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative clean technology solutions. Since ERA was established in 2009, they have committed $607 million toward 183 projects worth $4.1 billion that are helping to reduce GHGs, create competitive industries and are leading to new business opportunities in Alberta. These projects are estimated to deliver cumulative reductions of 34.8 million tonnes of CO₂e by 2030.